What do you want to be next time around?
I don't care if you believe in re-incarnation or not ... I'm sure you've thought about it. And no sappy answers like, 'I would be me again.'
Me? I want to be a storm chaser. I secretly love hearing that the conditions are right for tornadoes. I've always wanted to see one, but ... surprisingly ... I never have. All those years in Oklahoma and Texas and not a single tornado sighting. Having worked in grocery stores for a huge chunk of my working days, I was always ushering customers into the dairy coolers or freezers whenever the tornadoes were close. Yes, that's where you go. I've done it three times. I've always been in the general area, but at work ... therefore, unable to "enjoy" a tornado.
Please, spare me the stories of your grandmother losing her house ... you've got to admit ... a tornado is a pretty awesome power ... to be completely amazed by ... not to be taken lightly.
I know, I know ... where's the Christmas summary ... I'm getting there.
So, we stayed in Oklahoma with some friends, had breakfast with Gigi and Aunt Pam, drove to Texas, finished Christmas shopping, spent the morning with my brothers, Steven and Erik, Lex, and my mom, enjoyed all of Kevin's relatives at the annual Christmas Eve party, wore matching pajamas, opened presents with his parents, ate prime rib, packed up the car, and drove back home.
It was all pretty Christmasy.
To tell the truth, I can't wait to be here next year. Not that I don't miss being back in Texas with all of our family, but it just doesn't seem like Christmas unless you're home. And, as much as I hate to say it sometimes, Illinois is home. I can't wait to see Lubbock's face when he runs out of his room to see what Santa brought him. I can't wait to start our own traditions, too.
Back to this year ... On the drive home, we thought we might be able to drive it all in one shot, but Lubbock had other plans. He slept most of the afternoon leg (since we left after lunch) and woke up around 9p in a bad mood. We decided to stop in Springfield, Missouri, since we kept hearing radio reports of severe weather past St. Louis. Our thought was, if we're going to deal with bad weather, we should do it during the day. It was another 3 hours until St. Louis, but it would be midnight, we'd be exhausted and have less of an opportunity to sleep than if we stopped then. Or so we thought. We failed to take into consideration the fact that Lubbock had slept all day. He was ready to party by the time we got settled in. He was up until midnight anyway! Then he woke up around 5a. We didn't get much sleep, but some was better than none.
We packed up the car and got on the road. It was very windy and this was the only part of the trip that Kevin had me drive since I just followed all signs to St. Louis. I was only too happy to let Kevin take over driving just before St. Louis ... but just after a diaper change.
Lubbock was cranky and I thought ... we haven't changed his diaper in about three hours, so we should stop. I got his diaper off and almost immediately, he opened the floodgates. There was a lady that was in there and she opened the stall door, having a direct visual of what my son was doing. Fortunately for her, she was on the safe side of all this. Unfortunately, she had to walk through the puddle to get out. I tried to clean it up with paper towels, but they were such crappy quality, I was just making things worse. So, I cleaned Lubbock up as well as I could and told the lady at the register what happened. I offered to clean it up if she would tell me where the mop was, but she said they'd get it. (I always offer to clean things up, but have only been taken up on it once ... I feel better offering, though.)
We thought we'd keep going and stop in Springfield, Illinois, for lunch. We were listening to sports talk on the radio when some weather information started coming in. Talks of tornadoes being spotted and severe thunderstorms. We are complete idiots when it comes to Illinois geography, county names, and anything else like that, but I do carry a map with me. So, I found where we were and found where the tornado was spotted.
"Uh, Kevin. I think we should go ahead and stop here. The tornado is about two miles north of us. Right in our path." So, we stopped at Dairy Queen. We let Lubbock play in the indoor playground ... all the while, I'm looking out the window at the clouds roll by, not looking at all like tornado-producing skies. The watch (or warning ... I can never remember which is which) expired at 12:15p, but we waited until 12:30p just to be safe. We got back on the road, but as soon as we did, the weather started getting miserable. Heavy rain that you couldn't see through and high winds. Again, more warnings ... this time for the mile markers we were driving in, but they weren't for tornadoes this time. It was only a four mile area of bad storms, so Kevin kept driving and we made it through. Safe, but still never having witnessed a tornado.
I've looked at tornado chasing tours, but they're like $5000 for a couple for a week and (of course) there's no guarantee you'll actually see one. I think I'll just see what happens in my next 18 years of life and if I haven't seen one, I'll request that for my 50th birthday. Really? I've already got my present for my 50th birthday picked out? Sigh!
So, Christmas was Christmas. Lubbock got a ton of cute clothes, some Christmas books, a magnetic toy for his surf board in his room, a musical instrument set, a stick horse, a stuffed monkey, a backpack, a basketball hoop, and a motorized 4x4. I think next year, we're setting better limits. I recognize a grandparents' need to spoil their grandchildren ... but ... we live in a 1000 square foot house. Where do they think all this stuff fits? (Love you guys!)
And ... Lubbock's favorite thing from all of this was the old keyboard Kevin's dad gave him. So, when Lubbock goes to type on it, I always tell him that he's blogging. I'm trying to break him in early!